Memories of VE Day: Pensioner who spotted herself on newspaper CD cover was injured in doodlebug bomb blast

June Watts, from Aylesbury, was surprised to see her photograph on a free CD given out with the Sunday Express
June Watts, from Aylesbury, was surprised to see her photograph on a free CD given out with the Sunday Express

A pensioner who spotted herself on the front of a CD commemorating the anniversary of VE Day has shared her memories of the celebrations which swept Britain 69 years ago today.

June Watts recalls her father Alfred taking her to watch the crowds gather on May 8, 1945 as they listened to Churchill’s rousing speech announcing the news that Great Britain was no longer at war with Germany.

Unbeknown to her, while she was waving a Union Jack flag among the mele a photographer captured her look of wonder.

So it’s no surprise that the 76-year-old was astounded to see her seven-year-old face staring back at her from the front of a commemorative CD which came free with the Sunday Express in May 2005.

The snap shows a baby-faced June, of Haydon Hill, Aylesbury, watching in awe at the celebrations which took place where she lived as a child in Canterbury.

June suffered from several illnesses as a youngster, including whooping cough and polio.

She was in hospital for 19 weeks after she was caught up in a doodlebug flying bomb blast in 1942 on Canterbury Cathedral when she was just four.

She said: “When I came out of hospital, my father had decked the house out with Union Jacks to welcome me home.”

She added of the photo: “I look very interested in the photo, don’t I! I should like to know where the original photo is, and whether my mother and father were in it with me.”

“I can’t really remember too much about it because I was going through it a bit at the time, but I would have been elated I should imagine.

“I remember my father dressed me up in his old home guard coat, which he’d cut to fit, and an old trilby hat he used to wear in the garden when it rained.

“He would have been pleased that the war was over, but I can’t remember whether my mother was there or not as she would have been expecting my sister at the time.”

A report from The Bucks Herald spoke of ‘joyous scenes and gay decorations’ and the moments the Prime Minister’s words were broadcast to the crowds in Market Square.

The front page splash said: “Those heart stirring sentences, from the greatest statesman who rallied and sustained the British people in their darkest hour, stimulated and encouraged them when the prospect brightened but was still sombre, told us that the German menace was no more.

“His tone was characteristically restrained. It was without vain glory. It was arresting in reality.”